Ridiculously Difficult

Difficult tasks are daunting – ridiculously difficult is a proposition best left to imagination. Ridiculous is defined as unreasonably absurd or silly notions deserving ridicule – a preposterous suggestion easily dismissed as ludicrous. Fortunately mankind came with an infinite capacity to imagine ridiculously difficult possibilities.

On November 12, the European Space Agency Rosetta Mission will attempt “ridiculously difficult”- how hard could it be to land a probe on the surface of a miniscule chunk of cosmic debris traveling 40 times faster than speeding bullets?

Difficult was born 10 years ago when the ESA imagined ridiculous and launched Rosetta. A robotic probe with ridiculously difficult expectations – meander through the cosmos for 10 years, alternately slingshotting of planetary gravitational pulls, “sleeping”, waking up to take pictures, and finally slowing itself down to mirror the orbit and speed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. – a infinitesimally minute cosmic speck only a few miles wide.  That in itself was difficult – ridiculous is the morning of Nov. 12 when Rosetta will deploy Philae, a probe expected to land on the surface of  67P at a spot dubbed Agilkia.

Ridiculously difficult might well define humanity. Where or what would we be without the tenacity and vision of absurdly silly dreamers. On November 12, link to the live feed below – witness the possibilities of pursuing ridiculously difficult.


Pictured below – Philae’s primary landing site, mosaic – courtesy ESA

Philae’s primary landing site – mosaic. Image credit: ESA

11 thoughts on “Ridiculously Difficult

  1. This stuff boggles my mind. I still have a hard time accepting that they get objects moving how ever many thousands of miles per hour to orbit earth. We may be doing it but my mind can’t comprehend it!

    So in that vein…. Yeah — they’re going to do it! and I understand that as well as I understand how computer chips do what THEY do too.

    This is all too early for Sunday morning………

    🙂 P

  2. When I worked at CERN (as a mere engineer, not one of those geniuses), it was the one thing that baffled me: the astronomical complexity of these scientific projects. There literally billions of reasons why these experiments should fail. The reason that they don’t, I found was that teams of thousands of dedicated people will ensure that every piece works. They will use their resourcefulness to fix the problems, the errors as well as the unforeseeable. As a result, in spite of the odds, these incredible ventures are destined to succeed.

    The Rosetta mission is incredibly incredible. I can’t wait to see the images beamed from the surface of that rock.

    Humans are very good at failing and for millenniums we have made the same stupid mistakes. But the exception as to be in science and technology. What we are able to do today in science is light years ahead from what we are doing in government, economy, and society. Never mind. Let’s get ready for the Rosetta party!

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